Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: The Green Lantern Omnibus Vol. 1

THE GREEN LANTERN OMNIBUS VOL. 1 (DC, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects Showcase Nos. 22-24 and Green Lantern Nos. 1-21 (cover dates October, 1959- June, 1963).
Writers: John Broome and Gardner Fox (Issues 16, 17, 21)
Artists: Gil Kane (penciler) and Joe Giella (inker)
I am something of a newbie in Green Lantern circles. I had never read any comic books featuring him until the Chronicles trade paperbacks came out two years ago. I wasn't going to go for the upgrade, but this book was pretty and sang to me from the shelf of the comic book store. After a few weeks, I could no longer resist the siren's call. The first two softcovers covered roughly 320 of the 640 pages in this book, so the first half was a re-read for me. That's fine, as the faulty science and zany Silver Age DC flavor made this lots of fun to read. DC was so square when compared to the Atlas/ Marvel Comics of the day. I try to keep things in context of the area it was released in when I am reading it, but I had to dial that way down for this book and just enjoy this for what it is: light hearted science fiction flavored superhero comic books. Gil Kane's early artwork didn't hurt this title's cause none. You can watch his work become more refined with each passing issue.
Gil Kane redesigned Green Lantern's now iconic costume for this Silver Age relaunch. I have never read the Golden Age Green Lantern, and it is not necessary to understand this character. The Flash is another character who was completely redesigned around this time with an equally dynamic costume and powers.
My biggest gripe with DC as a whole are the seemingly limitless powers that their heroes have. At least Green Lantern has some hiccups and some limitations to his power. Marvel excelled because of the flaws and limitations of their heroes. Green Lantern/ Hal Jordan's biggest problem is that his girl is in love with Green Lantern and not him. These are just fun reads, and there is a second omnibus being released this November. I think I know what I'll be asking for this X-Mas...
The OCD zone- DC's collected editions department boggles my mind. I can imagine them sitting there with a dartboard with things written on it in the various target areas: Glued binding. Sewn binding. Nice paper. Tissue paper thin paper. Mediocre paper. Sealed in cellophane. Not sealed in cellophane. Fully restored. Discolored scans. I imagine the editor throwing 3 darts, and whichever of the three in each category he hits, that's what the book will have. Marvel has an across the board level of quality that is 99% consistent. DC does not.
I am grateful that the C.E.D. editor's dart hit the nice paper space for this release. While not as nice as a DC Archive or a Marvel Omnibus, it is a decent weight and a low sheen coated stock. The binding, while glued, allows this 640 page book to lay reasonably flat. The only trouble spots are the first and last 40 or so pages. The gutters aren't bad except in the aforementioned areas, where you have to pick up the book and tilt it slightly to see the right hand (in the back) or left hand (in the front) edge of the page. Most folks are not as anal as I am books laying flat on the bed like I am, so your mileage may vary.
The color and linework restoration are all excellent, and while I wish that this book had sewn binding, it is acceptable at the price point and the glued binding is not brittle and doesn't crack when handling, a very good sign for long term viability. I own all 6 Wonder Woman Archives but would gladly upgrade my Chronicles trade paperbacks to get Superman and Batman collections in this format.

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